The Week in Mobile: March 26 – April 1, 2017


iOS 10.3 is out, Wells Fargo ATMs go card-less, Waze begins on-the-go ordering partnerships and more

Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry. This content is designed to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

iOS 10.3 Now Available for Download

Apple’s latest operating system update is now available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users. iOS 10.3 brings a number of new bells and whistles including a Find My Airpod feature and updates to Siri, which allow users to make payments and check the status of bills using voice commands. The new OS also brings updates for CarPlay, iTunes and the Podcast app. Additionally, developers can now request permission to create multiple app icons for users to choose from. The MLB At Bat and NHL apps have already taken advantage of this feature, allowing users to update their icon with their favorite team’s logo.

App Store and Google Play Updates

Google is now offering a free app every week, available for download in the Play Store. The promotion launched last week and resembles a similar promotion that Google kicked off in 2015. Google has been quiet about its new “Free App of the Week” section, so it is unclear how long the promotion will last.

In other app store news, Apple is cracking down on apps that mention price in their name. The Apple App Store has discouraged this practice for some time now, but is finally instating a formal rule against it. It is unclear if existing apps with a price in the name will need to make updates to accommodate the new rule.

Amazon Considers Opening Furniture and Electronics Stores

According to recent reports, Amazon may be taking some of its furniture and appliance sales offline with new brick-and-mortar store locations featuring a technological twist. The company is considering opening stores that leverage augmented or virtual reality to help customers envision how a particular product might look at home. Rumor has it Amazon is also considering opening a series of electronics stores that would prominently display hardware and services such as Amazon’s Echo speakers and Prime Video.

Facebook Takes a Few (more) Pages from Competitor Playbooks

Facebook is giving users more ways to share photos and videos with the introduction of Facebook Stories. The new feature allows users to share videos and photos in the flagship Facebook app, which appear temporarily on Facebook’s News Feed before disappearing. Sound familiar? It should — the feature unapologetically mimics Snapchat stories.

Meanwhile, the social media giant introduced location sharing on Facebook Messenger. The news comes shortly after Google unveiled similar functionality for its Maps app.

Waze Integrates On-the-Go Mobile Ordering

Waze announced a new agreement with Dunkin’ Donuts, which will allow users to order and purchase their coffee and donuts from within the navigation app. For now, on-the-go mobile ordering is only available with Dunkin’ Donuts, but it’s likely that Waze will partner with additional companies down the road. If all goes well with this initial partnership, Waze users could soon be using the app to order pizza, reserve a parking spot, refill a prescription and much, much more.

Wells Fargo ATMs Go Card-less

Wells Fargo is turning to mobile to make ATMs more convenient for customers. Last week, the company rolled out a mobile app update that allows users to leave their ATM card at home and instead use their smartphone to generate a one-time code to authenticate a transaction. That’s step one. Next up, Wells Fargo says customers will be able to withdraw cash using NFC payment platforms like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.